A Travellerspoint blog

HAAST to FRANZ JOSEF 26th MARCH 2016

Franz Josef Glacier

large_IMG_9171__1024x683_.jpg

We left Haast today in overcast conditions - a lot better than expected - we are on the West Coast of the South Island after all.
Our first stop was the Knights Point Lookout - looking out over the Tasman Sea to Tasmania 1700kms away.
The road was one of those lovely ones with views around every sweeping corner.
IMG_9101a__724x1024_.jpg
The lookout platform was closed due to storm damage - Harold was not bothered by that, he found his own lookout point.
IMG_9094a__840x1024_.jpg

Next stop was Lake Paringa where the speed boats were having a good time. (note how low the clouds are!)
IMG_9107__1024x683_.jpg

We stopped at Fox Glacier (village) for lunch. Tourists everywhere, many not happy as helicopter rides and glacier walks have been cancelled due to cloud cover making visibility impossible.

Jo on a mound trying to see her first glimpse of Franz Josef Glacier - looking very "Alien"
IMG_9126 (683x1024)

IMG_9126 (683x1024)

We arrived at the village of Franz Josef in glorious sunshine - imagine that !!

Franz Josef Glacier is a World Heritage listed site. The Glacier is 12kms long and was named after Emperor Franz Josef 1st of Austria by the German explorer Julius von Haast in 1865.
This Glacier has been receding and advancing since he 1880's but rapidly receding since 2008. It was once visible from the Church windows on the outskirt of town - now not visible at all from that spot

We walked out along the edge of Fox River toward the Glacier. The river is very gray and flowing rapidly due to recent rains.
IMG_9128a (1024x697)

IMG_9128a (1024x697)


Occasionally a snow covered peak appeared in the clouds.
IMG_9136a__1024x842_.jpg

Part of the walk was along a beautiful rain forest track -
IMG_9143__683x1024_.jpgIMG_9150__683x1024_.jpg

We walked down to Peter's Pool for an absolutely stunning view up the valley of Franz Josef Glacier reflecting on the Pool.

IMG_9171 (1024x683)

IMG_9171 (1024x683)


IMG_9164__683x1024_.jpg

This one is not upside down (reflections were amazingly clear)

large_IMG_9173__1024x683_.jpg

On the way back we got a glimpse again - peeping through a break in the clouds - stunning !!
IMG_9189__1024x683_.jpg

Back at the village with very tired legs after our 10km round trip we met up with Harold and Jo, only to discover they had arrived back at the same time even though they walked up to the Glacier viewing point ( 2kms further) They cheated and hitched a ride part of the way back !!

Posted by MKaye 01:46 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)

DUNEDIN to HAAST - 25th MARCH 2016

Mountains, Lakes, War Planes and a stunning Waterfall

We had it all today - Rocky Mountains, Lakes, War Planes at the Wanaka War Birds air show and a stunning Waterfall
An early start saw us leaving at 8:00am on the road and out of Dunedin. Very very chilly ride over the Taieri Ridge in the Central Otago region. with spectacular views. 8 degrees but I think the wind chill factor was much lower.
We stopped at Ranfurly at the Monototo Café to have a coffee and thaw out. Great little café with the best food, open even though it was Good Friday. The Lemon and Cranberry Scones were the highlight. Now all we have to do is work out a recipe!
The town centre is dominated by an Art Deco style Refreshment Room (not the one we went to) and a Statue of John Turnbull Thomson, who laid the foundation for a uniform system of Land Surveying in NZ.
IMG_8740a__1024x870_.jpg
re-grouping ready to ride on -
IMG_8744a__1024x584_.jpg

we stopped in the middle of nowhere to watch a farmer herd his sheep

large_IMG_8754a__1024x312_.jpg

IMG_8756a__777x1024_.jpg

Next stop was the Suspension Bridge at Ophir - Built in 1880
IMG_8773__683x1024_.jpg
IMG_8770__1024x683_.jpg

Posing for his portrait (not sure if he is going to charge me so I never stayed long)
IMG_8788a__785x1024_.jpg
IMG_8785__1024x683_.jpg

Alien spotted in the paddock with his Harley Plough !! -
IMG_8792__1024x683_.jpg

We got fuel at Cromwell and then on to Wanaka where we were surprised by War Birds flying overhead - very low !!!
We were lucky to witness DC3, Spitfires, Avro Ansons and many more. The main event is Saturday and Sunday.
IMG_8832__1024x683_.jpgIMG_8864a__1024x361_.jpgIMG_8867a__1024x341_.jpgIMG_8878a__1024x409_.jpgIMG_8893a__1024x364_.jpgIMG_8934a__1024x393_.jpgIMG_8948a__1024x243_.jpg

Then on to Lake Hawae with views of Corner Peak and Dingle Peak.
IMG_9014__1024x683_.jpgIMG_9022__1024x683_.jpg

Boundary Creek Reserve on Lake Wanaka -
IMG_9034__1024x683_.jpgIMG_9044__1024x683_.jpg

Final stop was the Gates of Haast Bridge over the Haast River -

270_IMG_9059__1024x683_.jpg

Riding through the Haast Pass was a magic ride which competed a lovely day on the bikes.

Posted by MKaye 01:46 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

INVERCARGILL to DUNEDIN - 23rd MARCH 2016

Petrified Forest and a rare Penguin species !

Continuing our tour on the Southern South Island we headed to The Catlins.
There are so many sheep its easy to understand where all the "sheep" jokes come from.
IMG_8677a__1024x439_.jpgIMG_8681a__1024x474_.jpg

First stop was the amazing Petrified Forest at Waikawa, 170 million years in the making !
This is the home of the rare Yellow Eyed Penguin - not out at this time of the day.
View from the cliff top is stunning, even including that pesky blue VStrom that keeps getting in the way !!
IMG_8691a (1024x473)

IMG_8691a (1024x473)

IMG_8712a (1024x640)

IMG_8712a (1024x640)

Petrified trees - they were higher but pieces have been stolen by tourists over the years - shame on them!!
IMG_8713__683x1024_.jpg

And then we spotted the "HaroldusAitches" we believe it is the "Read" variety but was a bit hard to tell from the distance. It is an extremely rare Penguin species recently introduced from Australia, never spotted on this coastline before.
large_IMG_8720a__1024x757_.jpg

Next we stopped at the Tatuku Beach lookout where some school students were experiencing an excursion along he cliff top walking trail to Dunedin. According to their teacher the more they complain the harder it gets - go in silence children !!!
IMG_8736a__1024x411_.jpg

In need of some caffeine to calm our racing hearts after spotting that very rare Penguin we ventured back to the Niagara Falls café for Morning Tea.
There we spotted him again - apparently he is rather fond of a good Flat White around this time of the day.
IMG_8724__1024x683_.jpg

Posted by MKaye 01:56 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

TE ANAU to INVERCARGILL - 22nd MARCH 2016

Clifden Bridge and Burt Munro

Leaving this morning we rode through lovely open country similar to Australia which reminded us of the Western District of Victoria.
First stop was the Clifden Bridge, 111.5 above the Waiau River. New Zealand's longest at time it was built in 1898.
IMG_8560 (683x1024)

IMG_8560 (683x1024)

IMG_8561 (1024x683)

IMG_8561 (1024x683)

IMG_8593 (1024x683)

IMG_8593 (1024x683)

We stopped for morning tea at Riverton at the old Post Office Bakery and then were on our way to Invercargill.

First stop had to be the E.Hayes Hardware store. Still operating as a Hardware Store but most importantly housing an incredible collection of Motorcycles and some cars.
(Burt Munro being made famous in the movie "World's Fastest Indian" starring Anthony Hopkins)
IMG_8597 (1024x683)

IMG_8597 (1024x683)

IMG_8604 (1024x683)

IMG_8604 (1024x683)


1967 BMW R60
IMG_8606 (1024x683)

IMG_8606 (1024x683)


The car used in the movie
IMG_8608 (1024x683)

IMG_8608 (1024x683)

IMG_8619 (1024x683)

IMG_8619 (1024x683)


1923 Harley raced by Stan Woods whom among other Grand Prix victories won 10 Isle of Man TT races on this bike -
IMG_8645 (1024x683)

IMG_8645 (1024x683)


Replica of Burt's Indian used in the movie
IMG_8623 (1024x683)

IMG_8623 (1024x683)


Burt's original 1000cc Side Valve Indian
IMG_8630 (1024x683)

IMG_8630 (1024x683)


Burt's trailer (copied for the movie)
IMG_8640 (1024x683)

IMG_8640 (1024x683)


Steve's favourite - a Morris Commercial ex Bakers Van which one of his mate's owned - many a boozy night resulted in this little number rolling on its side going round corners (in Hobart) easily fixed - everybody out and push it back on its wheels !
IMG_8646a (1024x890)

IMG_8646a (1024x890)

Next stop was the Bluff - New Zealands most Southern Point and also the closest port to Australia.
IMG_8650 (1024x683)

IMG_8650 (1024x683)

IMG_8655a (752x1024)

IMG_8655a (752x1024)


Looking toward Invercargill from Bluff
IMG_8667__1024x683_.jpg

The sun was shining and very warm in Invercargill today, contrary to what we were told to expect. Just lucky today maybe.

Posted by MKaye 02:18 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

TE ANAU - 21st MARCH 2016

MILFORD SOUND

In the last 3 days Milford has received 495mm of Rain Fall - that is a huge amount of water.
For us that meant spectacular Water Falls on Milford Sound.
A "sound" is actually incorrect terminology.
Milford is a Fiord which is a valley created by glaciers.
To beat the tourist Coaches we started very early ie: 6:45 am, it was worth it , we had a dream ride out to Milford on spectacular roads in rugged terrain with spectacular scenery. To keep in front of the Coaches and tourists in Camper Vans we kept going until we had to stop at the Homer Tunnel. This 1.2 km tunnel was started in 1935 during the great depression by 5 men with pick axes and wheelbarrows. What an amazing feat of endurance and human stamina. Thanks must go to those guys, little did they know how many tourists would use that tunnel in future years.
Our purpose-built catamaran was waiting when we arrived, with a rainbow just to add a special touch !!IMG_8289 (1024x683)

IMG_8289 (1024x683)


Milford was looking very dark and mysterious.
IMG_8291__1024x683_.jpgIMG_8295__1024x683_.jpg
The waterfalls were amazing !
IMG_8307 (1024x683)

IMG_8307 (1024x683)

IMG_8324 (1024x683)

IMG_8324 (1024x683)


Milford was stunning !
IMG_8445 (1024x683)

IMG_8445 (1024x683)


and the sun did shine - briefly
IMG_8453 (1024x683)

IMG_8453 (1024x683)


IMG_8458 (1024x683)

IMG_8458 (1024x683)


the juvenile seals were sleeping on the rocks
IMG_8465 (1024x683)

IMG_8465 (1024x683)


occasionally having a little disagreement - defining who will be the leader of the pack !
IMG_8471a (1024x728)

IMG_8471a (1024x728)


just visible on the cliff edge were some alpine flowers - bravely blooming in late summer
IMG_8377__1024x683_.jpg
Our tour included a stop at the Milford Discovery Centre where we went 65 steps down under water to view fish in their natural habitat not normally visible unless you are in a submarine. The water is 9 metres of fresh water and then sea water. The deep sea fish species live there because its so dark. This phenomenon is quite unique to Milford Sound.
Also known for its own species of Black Coral which is actually white, the skeleton is black. This Coral is in the underwater garden which hung on the outside of the observatory in sea water. Due to the depth of fresh water (due to heavy rains) they are unable to raise the underwater gardens, therefore we were unable to see it. Damn rain !! Bet the farmers are happy !!!
Back up the top we heard more about how the construction of the Homer Tunnel was completed.
This wheelbarrow is one of the original ones used.
IMG_8520 (1024x683)

IMG_8520 (1024x683)


We just made it out before the clouds descended on the lake and visibility was nil.
On the way back we stopped for a quick photo - Steve posing !!
IMG_8538 (1024x683)

IMG_8538 (1024x683)


Next stop was Te Anau Downs on the edge of Lake Te Anau,
IMG_8550 (1024x683)

IMG_8550 (1024x683)

Back to Te Anau in plenty of time for dinner and an early night.

Posted by MKaye 00:17 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

(Entries 11 - 15 of 19) « Page 1 2 [3] 4 »